South Africa: Zuma’s Office Clarifies Christianity Comments


The South Africa Presidency has expressed concern at media reports alluding to comments President Jacob Zuma made regarding Western culture and Christianity, saying the manner in which the matter was reported is “misleading”.

The President made the remarks while speaking at a road and crime safety awareness event in KwaMaphumulo in KwaZulu-Natal.

However, his spokesperson Mac Maharaj clarified the matter, saying the President welcomed the advent of Western culture, but some useful traditional ways of doing things and aspects of African culture were undermined or even eroded, some of which were important for the cohesion of communities.

Maharaj said the President indicated, amongst other things, that Western culture had brought about the end of the extended family as an institution, leading to the need for government to establish old age homes, orphanages and other mechanisms to support the poor and vulnerable.

He added that even poverty was an unknown factor as neighbours were always ready to assist each other, giving one another milk or cattle where needed.

Maharaj said this did not in any way imply a negation or rejection of Christianity and that it was mischievous to draw such a conclusion.

“The President was simply asserting African culture as a way in which many people used to live harmoniously, and lamenting the neglect of African culture. The message was that while we should embrace Western culture and Christianity, we should not neglect the African ways of doing things and that diversity should mean the recognition of all cultures,” explained Maharaj.

He cited the fact that South Africa celebrated Christmas and Good Friday as evidence that Christianity was embraced by the widest majority in the country and the working relationship between government and religious groups in social development, the fight against crime, health care, rural development and basic education as another example.

“We owe some of the greatest achievements of government to the contribution of religious leaders,” added Maharaj.

SA News

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